March 20, 2011

Box Score |  Quotes

Head Coach R. Jones

On finding a way to win
"You have to tip your hat to UNO. They really played well today. They really played well. They had some good quality at-bats. But we pitched really well out of the bullpen. (Zizinia), Facundus and, of course, Pepitone. We played well defensively. Their starter kept us off-stride. Their lefty came in in the seventh and was really good. They had some good at-bats, and they played really well."

On why Robby Broach struggled
"This is an injury thing. Obviously his velocity was way down, and that wasn't Robby Broach on the mound. Right now you take our five starters and you carve out three of them, there isn't one program in the country that isn't going to feel the impact. I am really concerned about conference play knowing that right now we have lost three of our top five starters."

On who will pitch against Nicholls State
"Staff it. We'll start David Napoli, but we'll staff it because we want to be as fresh as we can for conference. (Zizinia) will probably have to go into the starting role for conference right now, which takes away from your bullpen. Again, until we get Alex Byo back 100-percent, and I don't know how long that will take, but that wasn't the Robby Broach that we know. For sure his velocity was way down and he didn't have command of his breaker and all that stuff goes with that."

On whether Robby Broach was in pain
"He said he was feeling okay but the strength wasn't there. This is an injury that can't get any worse. You have to sort of pitch through it. Robby Broach is such a competitive guy. But the velocity wasn't there and neither was the really good command because those issues. I don't know what is going to happen."

On the big hits
"Bowen Woodson getting the hit in the eighth and then knocking in the winning run in the ninth. And then Quinn with the big two-out RBI single there. Again we found a way today. I don't want to put a downer on anything, but I don't know how many programs can lose the three guys we lost and not expect to have some impact. Our offense has not been potent enough to be able to offset it if we don't pitch and play defense."

On the great defense this season
"Defensively we've been really good. Our numbers bear that out. We're close to .980 (fielding percentage) or maybe at .980. We pitched like crazy, but part of that real good pitching has been the fact that we've had a really deep and quality bullpen. Now that is going to get some depletion. When they were out there healthy, Alex Byo, Randy LeBlanc, and Robby Broach were very (good), and the numbers bear that out."

On whether Robby Broach can pitch in relief
"I'm not going to do anything until he is examined again and the doctors tell me where he is and where we go from there. I don't make any decisions on when they're ready to pitch. It's all from the medical staff. Again there is nothing I can even tell you until they look at him again Monday or Tuesday and see where he is."

On when he realized Robby Broach was off
"In the first inning, we felt really uncomfortable. Chad (Sutter) talked with him and said he thought he would settle in. You're hoping he'll be able to loosen up. He threw a couple of fastballs that had a little better pop than others. But obviously you saw how quickly I got him out."

On Alex Facundus' effectiveness
"It made a major impact in what our record is right now only because that takes pressure off Pepitone. He gave us two quality innings yesterday in a close ballgame and gave us another one today. He's really helped."

On not having a strong bullpen last year
"There's a lot we didn't have last year. But we've got some issues as far as going into conference play and the week after that with five games. Tell me a program in the country that can lose three of their top five starters headed into conference and not have some impact. I'm not telling you we're giving in or we're mailing in the games. I am saying that we have got to find different ways to win because we don't have three good (pitchers) out there right now. Maybe we'll get Alex back in three weeks, but maybe not. I don't know. They haven't told me."

On the offense
"I'm feeling good that we scrapped and clawed and got back in with the UNO club playing as well as they did today."

Freshman Infielder B. Woodson

On his mindset in the eighth and ninth innings
"In the eighth, you're leading off the inning and you just want to try to get on any way you can. You go to two strikes and you just have to keep fighting and do whatever you can. You see a curveball down and just fight it off and then it just happened to land in left-center. And then in the ninth, you're just looking for a pitch up and he threw me a pitch up first pitch and I just tried to lift it in the air and just get the run home any way you can."

On the feeling of getting the game-winning hit
"It's a really great feeling when that run crosses the plate and you get the win."

On playing a team that is struggling
"We know what we have to do to win, and UNO really came out here and they fought really hard and they showed some guts (today). We had to really respond and come out hard to beat them in a really good game."

On whether there is momentum
"There is definitely momentum. Hopefully we can keep it going into conference and then we'll be fine. But I think we're going to keep rolling. Our pitching staff is still looking good. Our hitters are picking it up. Our defense is great. Everything is just starting to roll."

On falling behind early in the game
"We kind of had to regroup but we knew it was still early, so we just had to scratch runs. In the bottom of the first, we got two. In the bottom of the fourth, we got two. In the fifth we got one, eighth we got one, and ninth we got one. We never really had a huge inning. We just scratched runs every inning."

On whether having to come back is a different mindset
"I guess it is a different mindset. You have to fight and get some runs anyway you can. Just scratch. Sacrifice bunt and get people over. Briggs had a big sacrifice bunt for us and then Quinn came up and got a big hit. It's just people coming up with timely hits to get the run across every inning."

Senior Pitcher N. Pepitone

On pitching in close games
"We've played a lot of close games this season. But if you think about last season, we weren't very good in one-run games. I don't know the number off the top of my head, but I think we won every game but maybe one or two in one-run games (this year). So it's big. It's a step forward for this team and it just shows the resiliency for us to be able to come back in ballgames where we give up two or four runs early in an inning and then we are able to come back throughout the game and chip away. The bullpen was big today holding them and keeping them at the six runs. "

On how good the bullpen has been
"Last year especially we struggled pretty bad in the bullpen. We had our set roles but we just weren't pitching up to our abilities. This year, especially early, everybody has been stepping up. Different guys have been coming into different roles. Just getting out there and doing the job and doing whatever the coaches ask us to do."

On whether it is frustrating watching Robby pitch with an injured
"You feel bad for the kid because he is the nicest kid on the team. I love him to death. He's been here for four years, and he's battled some injuries. You're really happy for him that he can come back and he's able to make a start, but you could tell from the start that it wasn't quite him. When you take two weeks off, you're not always going to be out there. We didn't expect him to go out there and give us seven strong, but you know that wasn't Robby out there. We have total confidence that he is going to come back whenever the coaches want to bring him back and he's going to do a great job."

On whether he feels the bullpen can save the starters
"We've had a lot of people step up so far. Drew Zizinia coming out from the bullpen and starting against Wichita State on Sunday giving us five strong innings and then David Napoli on Tuesday against a really good Southeastern team threw five innings. And then D.J. Ponder. All three of those guys made their first career starts and they were all three out of the bullpen. It's just different guys stepping up at different times. We're confident in anybody we put out there that they can shut down the other team and keep us in the ballgame."

On whether he can start
"It's one of those things that we've talked about in the past. But right now my job is the closer. If Coach Jones would ask me to, I would be more than willing to step up. But we do have a lot of guys that can step up and do that role and they've showed that in the past."

On how many pitches he can throw
"I have the tendency to throw a few 30-pitch innings so I'm usually up there around the 60 or 70-pitch mark. Every fall that I've been here in my four years, they've always prepped me to be a starter because you can always go from being a starter to a reliever. You can't really work from throwing one inning and then trying to go seven. The most pitches I have thrown since I've been here was 90 but that was in a fall ball game."

On his repertoire of pitches
"I'm mainly a sinker guy but we've tried to work on a slider. Then four-seam (fastball) is there when I am behind in the count. I don't know how much we would change it up if I were to start. It would just be one of those things that pitching coach Chad Sutter would call so I'm not sure what we would do with that."